2019 Los Angeles Angels Top 10 Prospects Chat

Image credit: Jo Adell (Photo by Donn Paris/Four Seam Images)

To see the Los Angeles Angels Top 10 prospects, click here. 

2019 Los Angeles Angels Top 10 Chat

Danny (Richmond VA): 

    With both Adell and Trout in the system ahead of him, where does Marsh end up long term? CF? RF? A different system? Thanks.

Mike DiGiovanna: Good question. As Adell got into his first season I thought he might be ready to replace Trout in CF if Trout left as free agent after 2020, but I think his timeline has been pushed up, and there’s a good chance he is in LF, next to Trout, by 2020. Just about every scout I’ve talked to thinks Marsh is a better CF than Adell right now, so I think Brandon’s future will be in CF. How quickly he gets to the big leagues will depend on his bat.

J.P. (Springfield, IL): 

    Thanks for chatting, Mike. How far has Maitan’s stock fallen for you, and are you reasonably optimistic he can rebound to become the guy the Braves first signed? Will we see him in your 11-20 range when the Handbook is live?

Mike DiGiovanna: I dropped him to No. 22 in the handbook. His stock has fallen quite a bit, and not just because he committed 18 errors in 21 games at shortstop and 14 errors in 40 games at third base last season. Many scouts questioned his work ethic and desire. He’s still young enough to shed that reputation but it’s going to take some time. Though his lower half is too thick for him to stick at SS he could be a decent 3B or reserve corner INF if he hits the way the Angels think he can.

Frank (Indianapolis, IN): 

    I realize you don’t get to vote, but how many of your top 10 do you believe are worthy of making BA’s top 100 prospects list?

Mike DiGiovanna: That’s a tough one. I certainly think Jo Adell and Griffin Canning are worthy candidates, and maybe Jordyn Adams because of his upside. Marsh would be on the bubble for me.

Kyle (Dallas, TX): 

    What can be taken from the acquisition of Patrick Sandoval, and what is his upside? Was he close to making the top 10?

Mike DiGiovanna: I have Sandoval at No. 15. He had a really good year split between high-A and AA. I don’t project him as a front-of-the-rotation guy, but he could be a solid No. 5 starter or multi-inning reliever in big leagues. Stuff isn’t overwhelming fastball 88-94-mph, decent mid-70s curve and low-80s slider, but his signature pitch is an 80-mph changeup that he throws with great arm speed. I think they got a decent prospect for a guy (Maldonado) who was headed for free agency.

Justin (Oakland, CA): 

    Was Livan Soto a candidate for your list? Which infield position do you see him settling in at eventually?

Mike DiGiovanna: Soto was not only a candidate, he made my list at No. 25. The Angels won’t know what they have in him until he adds some weight, gets stronger and matures physically. Most scouts believe he might profile better as a second baseman because of his lack of power, but some believe he can stick at shortstop because of his ability to compensate for his arm with good positioning, footwork and body control. At this point, I’d say 2B is more likely.

Ben (Miami, FL): 

    Did the Halos make a smart pick with Jeremiah Jackson, and is he likely to stick at SS?

Mike DiGiovanna: Probably way too soon to determine this, but the kid is apparently a great athlete and, though he’s pretty wiry right now, the ball just jumps off his bat, which leads many to think there will be more power as he physically matures. His range and arm strength are good enough to stick at SS for now.

Lawyer (At lunch): 

    If everything breaks right for Jo Adell, what is his ceiling? Is the Mike Cameron comparison underselling his talent?

Mike DiGiovanna: The Angels scouting director said the night they drafted Adell that he could be a “franchise player.” That might be a bit of a reach, but I do think he has a chance to be better than Mike Cameron. He’s a legit five-tool guy and his coaches and instructors rave about his work ethic and ability to make adjustments. That’s big for a 19-year-old.

Zac (NYC): 

    Last year I asked if Griffin Canning had a chance to be the next Mussina or Greinke. His season did little to dampen those wild expectations. Is that ceiling realistic (they both might be HOFers, I know) and what does he have to do to get there?

Mike DiGiovanna: The Angels would be THRILLED if Canning was the next Mussina or Greinke, but from everyone I’ve talked to, they project more of a No. 3 guy than an ace. That’s not necessarily bad. If you’ve followed the Angels these past few years, they can definitely use a solid No. 3. And 4. And 5. And so on.

Zac (NYC): 

    Would Matt Kemp or Lorenzo Cain be a good future comp for Jo Adell? If neither, who would you say fits better?

Mike DiGiovanna: I think Cain would be a better fit than Kemp because Adell is a lot more explosive and athletic than Kemp, who is more of a one-dimensional power guy and runs poorly. Cain is a better comp because of their overall abilities on both sides of the ball, but I think Adell has a higher offensive ceiling than Cain.

Brett (San Antonio): 

    A few years ago the Angels system seemed completely depleted. They have made huge strides since then. Where does their system stand today?

Mike DiGiovanna: Most publications and websites, including Baseball America, have them ranked in the 10-15 range, which is where they belong. They’re still pretty thin on high-end, big-league ready pitching, but the system has gotten a lot more athletic and dynamic in position players, which was an emphasis of GM Billy Eppler and scouting director Matt Swanson.

Brandon Marsh (Elite Prospect?): 

    Thanks for chatting with us today Mike! I was hampered with injuries after being drafted but finally put together a healthy full season in 2018 between LoA and HiA. After a quick start to the season, my production ticked down after being promoted. What were scouts thoughts after seeing me play a full year? Do they still see all the above average – plus tools still and simply me just adjusting to a new level? Am I on the short list of prospects who can really break out in 2019?

Mike DiGiovanna: Not to worry Brandon, the scouts still love you 🙂 I was actually a little surprised by how much they love you in CF. I knew you were good there defensively but your combination of speed, strong and accurate throwing arm and route-running has pushed you ahead of Jo Adell defensively. So the tools, including the raw power, are still plus, but the bat is a little behind the glove right now.

Alex (Bay Area): 

    How good can Brandon Marsh be? We’ve all heard about the tools and he finally played a full season in 2018 (although the stat line didn’t blow you away). After starting hot in LoA his production waned in HiA. Do you see Marsh still having elite prospect potential?

Mike DiGiovanna: That jump from low-A to high-A is pretty big for a guy his age, so it’s not surprising that he struggled a bit offensively. Most scouts you talk to still see Marsh as having elite prospect potentially, especially defense. He might be good enough to play CF in the big leagues right now. But that bat has to catch up with the glove, and that will take a few years.

Dan (Irvine): 

    Angels system took a jump even with their highest upside pitching prospect sidelined. Any word on the health of Chris Rodriguez? Where will he start next season, if healthy?

Mike DiGiovanna: A stress-reaction in his lower back confined Rodriguez to the team’s Arizona training complex last season, and the Angels thought it would be best for him to focus on his rehabilitation instead of pitching for an affiliate. The team is confident Rodriguez will be ready to pitch this spring.

Ned (Covina): 

    Where are Patrick Sandoval and Jack Kruger on the Org. Depth chart? Both possess high floors if not unspectacular ceilings but look like future mlb contributors

Mike DiGiovanna: Sandoval is in the middle-of-the-pack in the Angels’ top 30 and is probably the second-best starting LHP in the system behind Jose Suarez right now. Kruger is on the fringe of the top 30 because of his well-below-average throwing arm, but scouts love his intangibles and game-calling abilities and his bat is solid.

Ryan (Detroit): 

    With Garrett Richards in San Diego, and a good spring training, do you see Jose Suarez in the Angels rotation this year?

Mike DiGiovanna: At the rate with which Angels starting pitchers get hurt, he could be in the opening-day rotation. Assuming there are some healthy arms, I think Canning is ahead of Suarez on the depth chart and would get the first callup, but I think Suarez will pitch in the big leagues at some point next season.

Justin (Tucson, AZ): 

    I’ve read Vernon Wells (good years) comps on Adell but I guess I’m just wanting something more flashy. Is that really the best comp for him or is there something better like Andre Dawson or Dave Winfield?

Mike DiGiovanna: The only years I saw from Vernon Wells were (bad years) so I hope Adell does better than that comp. Vernon had some pop in his prime but did not run like Adell can and was not an impact defender like Adell can be, so I would aim a little higher for Adell. Now, Andre Dawson or Dave Winfield? That would be something!

MikeR (Lockport NY): 

    Did Kevin Maitan just miss the top ten ?

Mike DiGiovanna: Let’s just say he did not “just miss” the top 10 …

Chuck Richter (Seattle, WA): 

    Hi Mike, do you think there’s a good chance the Angels let Luis Rengifo have a shot at the starting second base job in spring training, or at least battle for the spot with Fletcher & Cozart?

Mike DiGiovanna: What up Chuck? Rengifo might have made the biggest leap of any Angels prospect last season. Some scouts think he’s a future utility INF, some think he’s good enough to be a starter. Whether he’ll have a shot at 2B job will depend on whether or not Cozart stays at 3B. If it comes down to Fletcher vs. Rengifo, sure, that could be a competition.

Karl of Delaware (Georgetown,Delaware): 

    So it looks like 5 or 6 players from your top 10 will be with the big league Angels in 2019. If so, do you figure this will give them a winning season in 2019, or will it take several years for this to happen?

Mike DiGiovanna: I’m not sure any of the top 10 prospects can turn the Angels from a losing team to a World Series contender; that will depend on the bigger moves the Angels make. But prospects such as Griffin Canning, Ty Buttrey and possibly Matt Thaiss and Luis Rengifo could add quality depth and fill in for injured players throughout the season.

Jahmai Johnes (Bounce Back in 2019?): 

    After a huge breakout year across multiple levels in 2017, I had a really rough 2018. Was some of my offensive struggles attributed with me switching to a new defensive position? I seemed to play a lot better during the AFL. I’ll be only 21 in AA for most of the 2019 season. Do scouts see a bounce back season in 2019 for me to re-establish my prospect status?

Mike DiGiovanna: Hey Jam. Great questions. Yes, some of your offensive struggles can be attributed to the position switch, and most scouts expect a bounce-back season from you in 2019. I still think you have your “prospect status.” You haven’t fallen as far as you might think.

Alex (Bay Area): 

    Jahmai Jones had a disappointing 2018 but still checks in at #5 in a revamped Angels system. Being only 21 most of 2019, do scouts see a guy that can make his way back into the top 100?

Mike DiGiovanna: Yes. Most scouts attribute his offensive struggles to his position switch (OF to 2B) but they think he’ll have a bounce-back year in 2019.

Chuck Richter (Seattle, WA): 

    How close were Jeremiah Jackson, Patrick Sandoval & D’Shawn Knowles from cracking the top 10?

Mike DiGiovanna: Incredibly close, kind of close and not that close 🙂

Mike (LA): 

    I thought the most interesting part of Marsh’s scouting report was “…he doesn’t always swing with intent…” Is this something that is easily correctable? Is this due to pitch recognition or not having a plan at the plate? It sounds like with Marsh’s speed/defense/arm, if his hit/power tools make it to above average, that’s the makings of a future top 25 prospect.

Mike DiGiovanna: I think you answered you own question. With most prospects, those tentative swings come with a lack of pitch recognition and the lack of a solid approach, but those things definitely come with time and experience, so yes, they’re correctable.

Chuck Richter (Seattle, WA): 

    Who are some prospects not ranked in your top-10 to keep an eye on in the Angels organization in 2019?

Mike DiGiovanna: SS Jeremiah Jackson, RHP Luis Madero, CF D’Shawn Knowles, RHP Brett Hanewich, to name a few.

Matt (Lala Land): 

    Were scouts encouraged by Jahmai Jones’ performance in the AFL? He had a down year but is the thought that is was mainly due to his position switch? I would think it’s a good sign that evaluators still see the strong offensive tools he showed in 2017.

Mike DiGiovanna: Yes, they were … and they think that will continue during a bounce-back 2019 for Jam.

Jordyn Adams (Future Angel): 

    The Angels have made a habit of drafting huge upside/high risk ultra athletic HS bats (Adell, Marsh, Jones) and I’m the latest of the bunch. How do my tools compare to those guys? Is it fair to say I’m a mix of Brandon Marsh and Jahmai Jones? Would it be optimistic to think my future hit/power can be 50/55?

Mike DiGiovanna: Hey Jordyn with a Y … you’re tools rate slightly lower than Jo Adell’s but very high, especially in athleticism. I would rate your future hit/power at 45-50 right now. Speed is a 70, though.

Ken (LA): 

    With the amount of high-end Angels OFs coming up, if Trout stays what does the Angels OF look like in 2 years? Does Brandon Marsh push Trout to LF and Adell slots in at RF? A trio of Trout/Marsh/Adell is exciting offensively but even more so defensively.

Mike DiGiovanna: If Trout stays, I like Adell in LF and Marsh in RF … it will be Trout’s call, much like it was Torii Hunter’s, on when to move off CF. He takes a lot of pride in his defense and should be good enough to stick in CF for many years to come. PS: This is a “problem” the Angels would LOVE to have.

DH (PA): 

    Rengifo’s has speed and on base ability and seems like a better player than Jamai Jones at 2B. Is Jones going hit with a lot more power?

Mike DiGiovanna: Rengifo definitely had a better 2018 than Jones, and his probably closer to the big leagues right now because of his defense, plate discipline and bat-to-ball skills. Jones may have a little higher ceiling, especially for power. They could both end up competing for 2B job in another year or so.

Chuck Richter (Seattle, WA): 

    Taylor Ward & Jahmai Jones changed defensive positions prior to the 2018 minor league season. Are there any other prospects making the switch to a different position or going from the mound to the batters box & field, or vice versa?

Mike DiGiovanna: Haven’t heard much speculation on this, at least as it pertains to guys in the Top 30 … I know they want 1B Jared Walsh to play more OF and he might even pitch some more. Guys are always moving between SS and 2B so wouldn’t call that a position switch, per se.

Jarett (Anaheim): 

    Is a Mike Trout extensión likely this offseason?

Mike DiGiovanna: I think not likely. Knowing Trout as well as I think I do (since he was 19) I think he’s going to wait and see what moves the Angels make this winter and how they play next season before making that kind of commitment. The big big $$ is going to be there for him whenever he wants it. There is no rush.

Jarett (Anaheim, CA): 

    What is the ceiling for Canning and Suarez?

Mike DiGiovanna: I think Canning’s ceiling is a No. 2 starter. I don’t see him having ace-type stuff, but he could be very good. I think Suarez’s ceiling is as a No. 3 or 4 starter. That’s not a knock on him. Just don’t think he’s going to be as “dominant” as a traditional No. 1 or 2.

Thomas Bahama (Bahamas): 

    Hey Mike, big fan. D’Shawn Knowles put up some thrilling numbers this year, albeit Pioneer League. At such a young age along with performance, is he potentially one of the bloomers for this organization who could jump into elite prospect status with a full year affiliate performance?

Mike DiGiovanna: Heard a lot of great things about Knowles while doing the research for the handbook. He made huge strides this past season. His bat-to-ball skills improved dramatically, he learned how to square the ball up consistently. He has plus speed, a solid arm and plus defensive instincts in center field. And he’s getting bigger and stronger. He could jump into elite prospect status is he continues to progress as he did in 2018.

Jessica (San Diego): 

    Speaking of Canning, he had a rough time in Salt Lake according to the numbers. When do you expert to see him in Anaheim and what kind of work is left to do before he is ready?

Mike DiGiovanna: As with any young pitcher on the cusp of the big leagues, he’ll need some polish. The stuff is definitely there. At this point, it’s not so much a question of “when he’s ready” but will he be ready when the big league club needs him. He’ll be one injury away from the rotation this season. I think we’ll see him in Anaheim, but Angels will also be mindful of his workload, so they my try to pace him in the first month or two, keep his innings down so he’ll be available in the second half. Doubt he’ll surpass 140-150 innings next season.

Robert (Los Angeles): 

    Do you think Jahmai Jones can be an average player at 2B, or is destined to head back to the outfield?

Mike DiGiovanna: Though he had some rough patches defensively last season he did improve, and I think he’ll get better and more consistent and more comfortable at 2B with time. Most scouts think he’ll be playable at 2B, and I tend to agree. I don’t think he’ll go back to the OF because the Angels are a lot more stocked there.

TBW (Arrowhead): 

    Big Mike, does Griffin Canning seem to show similar tools and qualities as fellow UCLA alumn, Trevor Bauer?

Mike DiGiovanna: Funny you should ask. Trevor Bauer is a guy who several scouts compared Canning to, and not because they both went to UCLA. It’s the ability to command four pretty high-quality pitches and to dial up his velocity and command in big spots.

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